He Speaks!

About two weeks ago I had a texting conversation with Taylor. I told him we bought a new car and he asked when we would be driving it down south to see our son. We’d had a weekend trip planned in March and one in April, but they both came to naught and our next trip to see him is scheduled for May. (This is where I could have pointed out that maybe he should have come home for his Spring Break instead of staying in Lynchburg to work, but I didn’t.)

After our conversation I decided to look at the Lynchburg College Event Calendar, just to see if there was some fun filled family weekend coming up. I had barely begun to scroll through the list of events when the name “Taylor Thompson” jumped out at me.

Day: Monday, April 1, 2013

Time: 12 p.m.

Where: Memorial Ballroom

Event Details: Taylor Thompson ’14 and Laura Dupuy, Director of Lynchburg Neighborhood Development Corporation, will talk on “Homelessness in Lynchburg.”

So after more texting, phone calls and cashing in Hilton points, Todd and I had our plan to go watch Taylor. Sadly, Katie’s a senior and classes are “important” and she “can’t afford” to miss any. “Whatever.”

To say our Easter was different from any other would be an understatement. Todd and Katie and I went to first service, after which Todd came home and Katie went her way to serve and I went my way. Since it was such a last minute plan I didn’t have a replacement so I was there until 1:45. Todd picked me up with Wawa sandwiches for lunch and we said goodbye to Katie and then ditched her for Easter. (I realize my parenting skills and the status of my motherly soul have been suspect for a long time, but she did have Easter dinner with her best friend so she wasn’t completely alone.)

We pulled into Lynchburg around 8 and went straight to Taylor’s house. Todd had never been there so he got the grand tour while I pretended to be all cool and hip with the other students that were there, though I’m pretty sure my use of “cool” and “hip” gave me away. While there his girlfriend, Shelby, told us that she was defending her thesis on Monday afternoon if we wanted to come watch and we said, “YES!”

We were meeting Shelby in front of the college ballroom at 11:45 on Monday morning so we had some time to just do our thing. We breakfasted at Chick-Fil-A and then went to the shopping center across the street and I bought new shoes. While at breakfast Todd asked, “Why do you need new shoes? The shoes you’re wearing look fine.” Because he’s a man and really doesn’t know any better I was very patient with him and explained how my shoes were fall/winter-type shoes and I needed some spring shoes. That seemed to appease him, though I’m not sure he really got it. I find very few men understand the whole shoe thing. I’m not sure I really understand the whole shoe thing. I just know it as a primal need.

But I digress. After I changed into a new pair of shoes (I bought two pair because it was buy one, buy one half price and I know a good marketing ploy deal when I see one) we headed over to the college. Since I have a new car I don’t have my “Lynchburg Mom” decal anymore so we went straight to the bookstore. I bought a new decal and a package of band aids because the new shoes were rubbing on my heal the way new shoes are sometimes wont to do. Todd bought a new Lynchburg insulated tumbler and I think that’s all we got. That time.

Then it was time to go watch my boy do his thing. One word: Surreal. There was a man and a woman who were talking to a room of about 200 college seniors and faculty about poverty, except the man was my son. My child. I was struck with so many thoughts as I watched him up there.

He appears so confident.

He only said “um” once.

He knows his subject matter well.

He’s really passionate about his subject matter.

He works very well with Laura (the other speaker and a mentor of his).

He doesn’t look like a little boy.

I’m so proud right now I might burst.

I have to hold it together so I don’t cause a scene and ruin everything.

Don’t you dare stand up and yell, “That’s my baby!”

Maybe I should have bought those khaki flats instead of the gray.

Well… some of those thoughts might be creative license for entertainment purposes, but you get the idea.

The presentation was part of Senior Symposium. Instead of trying to tell you what Senior Symposium is and getting it completely wrong, here’s the blurb from the college’s website:

The Senior Symposium is an academic tradition at LC that brings significant texts, questions, and ideas to bear on various contemporary issues. Students meet weekly to listen to a public lecture, then participate in small group discussions.

It’s not often that a student is a speaker so the fact that Taylor was is huge. At least to me, it is.  I’m not entirely certain – and I should probably get my facts straight before I put these words on the internet because, you know, if it’s on the internet then it’s true – but I believe Laura was asked to present and she asked Taylor to co-present because of the work he has done with her.

After the lecture the speakers are invited into the inner sanctum – that place that only faculty and distinguished guests are allowed – for lunch. Todd and I were going to go do our thing and then meet up with Taylor later to watch Shelby’s presentation, but we were graciously invited to join the lunch festivities. We then went back to Taylor’s house for a little while until it was time to go back and watch Shelby.

Her thesis was based on her work for a summer reading program with mostly underprivileged children. It was a very interesting subject and she did a great job presenting the information. It was obvious she had done her work and knew her facts as she was able to answer the questions afterwards with ease and received high honors for her defense. Getting to be there for it was an added bonus to our quick trip!

The rest of the day was just fun. We took Shelby to her house so she could change and look what she had.


I think she said it was a 12 pound jar of Nutella. I think this picture should be framed and hung on a wall.

The kids took us for bubble tea smoothies. A bubble tea smoothie has tapioca pearls in it. I always thought tapioca pearls were small and white, but it turns out they are, in fact, big and black. The straws are rather large so as to accommodate said big and black tapioca pearls. So you’re drinking this smoothie and then all of a sudden you suck up this big pearl with the consistency of an almost gummy bear.

Bubble Tea Smoothie

I feel as though I should think it’s terribly gross, but I liked it. In fact, I think I liked it a lot.

After that Todd and I were taken to the amazingly spectacular Givens Bookstore.

Givens Bookstore

It was a little like Disneyland. After perusing used books, new books, antique books, classic toys and even educational curriculum, I finally bought Let’s Bring Back: the Lost  Language Edition – A collection of forgotten-yet-delightful words, phrases, praises, insults, idioms, and literary flourishes from eras past.

Lost Language Book

I thought it would be a great addition to my writing library. Now I’m not so sure. Turns out I already use a lot of these words and phrases in every day conversation. Though I did learn that “groovy” was a term for sardine (“Please pass the groovies and crackers.”) before it became a hippy thing.

When I decided everyone had indulged me in my Mecca for long enough we were given a tour of downtown Lynchburg by Taylor. I had my camera around my neck and got all twitchy as I watched the beautiful surroundings of church spires and amazing architecture and fascinating urban scenery go by. If I’d had my way it would have taken us until dark before we made it to the restaurant for dinner. So I made a note to myself – come back in May when you have a lot of time and people aren’t hungry.

Dinner was very enjoyable and we were able to discuss Taylor’s presentation more – I had all kinds of questions (and I like playing devil’s advocate). All four of us walked out of the restaurant stuffed. We dropped Taylor and Shelby off at his house and then drove back to the hotel. Only as we were getting out of the car did I realize we forgot to have him endorse his tax return check and sign a DMV thingy, so I drove back to the house, got his John Hancock, and then came back to the hotel.

Tuesday morning we got up, packed up, checked out, ate at Bob Evans and then hit the road. It was a fabulous spontaneous (and when I say “spontaneous” I mean it hadn’t been planned for months) trip down to see Taylor and Shelby. Next year Katie will be at school about two hours from him (Shelby graduates this year) so I imagine we’ll be taking many more trips down that way for another four years. That means four more years to take lots of pictures!


  1. Pastor James Miller on April 5, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Somehow you made me think that by clicking on your blog I would get some Nutella.

    • Jenster on April 5, 2013 at 11:39 am

      I’m sorry for the misleading post. I’m more sorry we can’t get Nutella just by clicking on the blog.

  2. Michele McMillan on April 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    so, what kind of new car did you get??? 😉 Glad you had such a great time and congrats on Taylor’s accomplishment with being chosen to speak, that is really great!

    • Jenster on April 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      We got a Kia Sportage. I love it! It’s rather zippy compared to the Saturn, which was nothing but trouble from the start. 🙂

  3. nwhannas on April 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Loved every scrap of this post! Parenting just evolves. We go from teaching & correcting to admiring. Mmhmmm. Xxxooo

    • Jenster on April 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      Yeah. Admiring. That’s it! 🙂

Leave a Reply